Never trust a slick presenter
There are plenty of articles floating around the internet about the importance of presentation skills and their impact on your personal success. Yeah, OK, I get that a bit, but let’s not overcook it.
Whatever you’re selling – whether it’s product, service, yourself, your ideas or something else – people buy from people. They buy from people they like, people they trust, people with whom they empathise. And most of us aren’t perfect, we make mistakes, we um and er, we forget what we were going to say. So a presenter without a hair out of place, who’s word-perfect, perfectly prepared, smooth and slick, isn’t real – that’s not what they’re truly like. It’s an image, an act, a pretence, and therefore they can’t be trusted.
Yes, prepare, work out what you’re going to say, give it a structure, check the spelling and clarity of your slides, test it out on a few people and practice. But don’t worry about making it too perfect; keep it real, and always remember to be yourself. If you’re not a great presenter, it’s no big deal – there are plenty of people who are highly successful in life without great presentation skills.
Shortly after I sold my first business, the HR Director of the acquirer came to make a presentation at a company meeting. He was great, he was eloquent, he didn’t use the same adjective twice, he expressed himself clearly, and he spoke without notes. Afterwards I mentioned to one of my senior software developers that I wished I could present like that. He said “Really? Well I understand why you might think that. But the difference is that when you present Paul, we believe you.”
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